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Father's DayTravel - CookingLatin WW2

Monday, October 30

Cultural Cooking : Italy

Italy is on our shortlist of places to visit - but until then, there's nothing like an Italian dinner party with good friends, good conversation, good wine, and great food!!  Godere!  (Enjoy!)

Pumpkin Spice Biscotti
  • 1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Tbsp Softened Butter
  • 1 Tsp Pure Vanilla
  • 2 1/2 C All-purpose Flour
  • 1 C Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • Dash of Ground Nutmeg
  • Dash of Ground Cloves
  • 1 C Toasted Coarsely Chopped Walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F.
  2. Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and spices in a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, butter, vanilla and eggs.
  4. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the bowl with the flour and stir until combined, then fold in the walnuts.
  5. Lightly grease a baking sheet.  Flour your hands and form a dough log about 14 inches long and 6 inches wide.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the loaf is light brown and the top is just firm to the touch.
  7. Cool the biscotti for 15 minutes, and then using a serrated knife cut into 1/2 inch slices.
  8. Reduce the oven heat to 300 degrees F.
  9. Lie the slices flat onto the baking sheet and bake an additional 7 to 8 minutes until one side is light brown.
  10. Turn the slices and bake an additional 5 minutes.  Cool.
  11. Store in an airtight container.

Cheese And Ham Stuffed Focaccia
  • 5 C All-purpose Unbleached Flour
  • 2 Tsp Instant Yeast
  • 2 - 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 2 C Warm Water
  • Focaccia Filling:
    • 2 C Ricotta Cheese
    • 1 C Shredded Mozzarella
    • 1 C Grated Romano
    • 1 1/2 C Finely Diced Cooked Ham
    • 1 Tsp Coarsely Grated Black Pepper
  • Focaccia Topping:
    • 1 Tsp Dried Oregano
    • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • Coarse Sea Salt
  1. Measure and assemble your flour, oil, salt, yeast, and water, and add everything but the water into a large bowl and stir.
  2. Add half the water and stir, and then continue to add water until the dough begins to come together into a shaggy ball.
  3. Dump the dough mixture onto a lightly floured surface and begin to knead with the heels of your hand.
  4. Knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and pliant.
  5. Add a little oil (2 tablespoons) to the bottom of a large bowl and place your ball of dough inside.
  6. Roll the ball around in the oil, ensuring the sides of the bowl, and ball of dough are both lightly oiled.
  7. Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise.
  8. Let the dough rise until it is doubled in size, about an hour or an hour and a half depending on ambient temperature.
  9. To make a large rectangular focaccia, line a 13 X 9 inch baking sheet with sides with parchment paper, then generously brush with oil.
  10. Dump your risen dough into the pan punching it down to deflate it.
  11. Divide your dough into two equal pieces and shape into balls.
  12. Roll one ball into a rectangle about 13 x 9 inches in size and carefully place it into the prepared pan.
  13. Mix the filling ingredients in a small bowl, then spoon onto the dough, leaving a 1-inch border all around.
  14. Roll out the second ball of dough to the same size, then place it on top of the filling.
  15. Carefully stretch the edges of the bottom dough up over the top, twisting gently to seal.
  16. Brush the top of the focaccia with olive oil, then sprinkle the oregano and salt over the top.
  17. Let the focaccia rest for another 15 minutes while you preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
  18. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and cool to room temperature before slicing.

Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato, & Ginger Soup 
(This is a great immune booster, too!)
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion, Diced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Butternut Squash, Peeled & Cubed
  • 1 Sweet Potato, Peeled & Cubed 
  • 1 Apple, Peeled, Cored, & Diced
  • 1 Inch Piece Fresh Ginger, Grated
  • 1 Tbsp Grated Fresh Turmeric
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 4 C Chicken Broth
  • Sea Salt & Pepper To Taste
  • Optional Topping:
    • Greek Yogurt
    • Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
  1. Place the oil in a heavy bottom stock pot over medium heat until lightly smoking.
  2. Add the onion, and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, squash, potato, apple, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, and chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to a simmer and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cook 20 to 25 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  6. Either blend the soup in batches in a blender, or use a hand blender to create a smooth texture.
  7. Serve the soup in individual bowls with suggested garnish, or your garnish of choice.
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